The Daydreams

Berkley. May 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780593438183. $27. F
Back in 2004, Kat Whitley used to play the mean girl on The Daydreams, a TV drama about fictional high schoolers who start a band together. Life couldn’t be any more different 13 years later when she’s a lawyer on the partner track trying to live a normal life after their disastrous final episode ended the show’s second season and tanked the female cast members’ acting careers for good. When their unscathed and still thriving male costar agrees to a reunion in an interview, Kat and the original cast get pulled right back into the toxic chaos that led to the downfall of Summer Wright, once the brightest star of the show until her scandalous breakdown. Although the book is unflinching in its portrayal of the vicious realities of the entertainment industry, its most fascinating elements are the characters who each reveal their complexities, intentions, and secrets. Told through alternate timelines, journal entries, tabloid articles, and soliloquies, the narrative is well-paced and surprising as it takes unexpected turns.
VERDICT Perfect for readers looking to reminisce about the early 2000s teen pop star scene, Hankin’s latest novel (after A Special Place for Women) is a compelling page-turner and a must-read.
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